Container gardening can remodel your outside areas | Residence & Backyard


After all, the right container in size and shape can exude a sculptural quality that gives a room an aura of elegance.

Pots and planters come in many materials and shapes, but some principles apply to all of them. First, the bigger the container, the less stress there is on the plants as the soil moisture and temperatures are more uniform. Second, unless you are growing pond plants, the container needs to drain. And resist the urge to put a saucer under a saucepan; This leads to wet soil and root rot.

Larger pots are more difficult to handle and more expensive than smaller ones, but a single large pot or a group of, say, three has a presence that a jumble of small pots lacks.

If you’re putting more than one plant in a pot, use a container that is at least 19 inches in diameter, said Margaret Atwell, who makes the patio containers at the US Botanic Garden.

Mass-produced terracotta pots are affordable and pretty enough. Plastic versions hold moisture longer, but you may feel like the world has enough plastic already. Glazed clay pots can complement a color scheme if you keep it in mind.

The Victorians liked their cast iron urns and pots, but beware of metal containers. In hot regions like the Mid-Atlantic, a metal container, especially a dark one, in a sunny location can get too warm and cook the plants. One way to mitigate this is to line the container with bladder plastic. Another would be to place it in a more shady place and plant it accordingly.